Scoreless Weekend As Gillette, Sheridan Blank Northwest
An inability to find the back of the net continued to plague the Lady Trappers soccer team over the weekend, as NWC was held scoreless twice, falling to Gillette and Sheridan 5-0 and 6-0 respectively Friday and Saturday.
The losses dropped the Lady Trappers to 0-4 (0-2 in conference) on the season. Goals are at a premium, as the team has scored just once on the season — despite showing they can create scoring opportunities.
“It was a tough couple of games, but there were plenty of positives,” said Lady Trappers head coach Jessica Lum. “We just have to put it all together.”
GILLETTE 5, LADY TRAPPERS 0
Though it’s a first-year program, the Lady Pronghorns soccer team played like anything but, ringing up five goals and holding NWC scoreless. Gillette has recruited well, and the Lady Trappers got off to a sluggish start.
“We started out flat the first half, honestly,” Lum said. “They’re a pretty good team, they have a couple of pretty fast players up top, and I think we were just caught flat-footed.”
That said, the game was closer than the score might indicate, according to Lum. Wind was a factor in the game but NWC settled in to hold the Lady Pronghorns to a 2-0 lead going into the half.
“We weren’t connecting with our forwards up top in the first half, so we really didn’t have that many opportunities,” Lum explained.
Early in the second half, NWC’s center back Nicola Waddell was injured, creating a hole in the Lady Trappers’ defense.
“That really changed the look of our defense,” Lum said. “She’s pretty much our main person in there. We had to make adjustments, which was tough, but I think our game overall in the second half was much better.”
NWC’s middle fielders controlled the ball more effectively, and Lum had Hiroko Sogabe drop back as a defender to help make up for the loss of Waddell.
“She [Sogabe] really had an excellent game,” Lum said. “She kept our middle solid for us. We still let in a few more goals, but I think the second half, we played a whole lot better.”
Keeper Katie Behrens did her best to keep the game close, recording 14 saves on the day.
Lum thinks the Lady Trappers could have given Gillette a better game, but she called the Lady Pronghorns the best team NWC has seen so far.
“It was a tough loss,” Lum said. She added that, “Jessie Shipley had a great game, Kennadee Jenkins really stepped it up. Holly Burley adjusted well to what I was asking the team to do.”
SHERIDAN 6, LADY TRAPPERS 0
Against the Lady Generals Saturday in Sheridan, NWC faced probably its toughest test of the season. They squared off against a team that played a physical style of soccer that, while it may be becoming the norm for college soccer, caught even the coach off guard in its intensity.
“It was a really physical, dirty game,” Lum said. “It was frustrating for our team, honestly. I really felt that that’s what it came down to. We weren’t playing soccer at the end; we were just trying to protect and defend ourselves.”
Lum said the team communicated well in the first half and played sound defense overall, but the Lady Generals scored three goals in the first 20 minutes of play.
“Unfortunately, that really set the tone for the rest of the game,” Lum said. “When any team scores that many up front — even just one goal — it’s hard to come back from that kind of momentum.”
The second half belonged to Sheridan’s Sidney Burrell. The sophomore midfielder recorded a hat trick to push the lead to 6-0. Lum said the quality of play by both teams deteriorated from there.
“It was really frustrating that we weren’t able to play our game,” Lum said. “It’s one thing for Sheridan to play like that if they’re losing, I would understand it a little bit better. But there was absolutely no reason they should be behaving like that with that kind of lead. I understand it’s the college game, but as a coach, I want my players to be better than that.”
Lum said Kayla Atkinson had a solid game for NWC, and Abbie Hogan played well off the bench in both games. The first-year coach also praised Behrens, who recorded another 14 saves. Offensively, the Lady Trappers had five shots on goal, including two each by Brandie Beddes and Jessie Shipley.
“Those girls really hustled,” Lum said.
The Lady Trappers travel to Laramie to face off against Laramie County Community College Saturday. The Golden Eagles sit atop the conference with a 4-1 record, and Lum said the game will be a true test of where her team stands.
“The first four games, I think we played a decent possession game, it just wasn’t there this weekend,” Lum said. “We need to go back to the basics and start focusing on that again. We focused a lot on defense in preparation for these two games, so we lost the other piece. We need to go back and work on possession and our transition game.”